Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Meeting Leads to Fight, Lockdown at Georgia High School

Meeting Leads to Fight, Lockdown at Georgia High School

Meeting Leads to Fight, Lockdown at Georgia High School

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:30 AM PDT

(RIVERDALE, Ga.) — School officials say a meeting that included parents to settle a dispute among teenage girls led to a fight involving nearly a dozen students and prompted a lockdown at a suburban Atlanta high school.

Clayton County schools spokeswoman Vicki Gavalas says it happened at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale Tuesday.

Gavalas says one of the parents at the meeting instigated a fight between her daughter and another student afterward. That escalated into a fight involving 11 students. Gavalas says administrators are still restricting students’ movement throughout campus.

Gavalas says the students and the woman who instigated the fight have been arrested. Details on their charges and the ages of the people who were involved weren’t immediately available.

Officials Responding After Seattle Jetway Collapse

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:28 AM PDT

(SEATAC, Wash.) — Television reports say a jetway to a Southwest Airlines flight has collapsed at Seattle-Tacoma International airport.

It’s unclear if anyone was on the jetway at the time or whether anyone was injured.

Seattle television news footage showed the structure collapsed beside a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday. The footage did not appear to show any rescue efforts.

Neither the airline nor the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, immediately returned calls seeking comment.

U.S. Says No Ransom For Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

The United States would oppose any ransom payment or prisoner exchange to free more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last month by the extremist group Boko Haram, the Obama Administration said Tuesday.

“It is the policy of the United States to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, and that includes ransoms or concessions,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked whether Obama would support negotiations with Boko Haram, which abducted the girls last month.

The Nigerian government also rejected releasing prisoners this week.

“What I can tell you is that we’re focused on working with the Nigerian government to locate and bring home those girls,” Carney said. “That includes a team of [U.S. officials in the country]. It also includes manned reconnaissance flights that I can confirm we are conducting in cooperation with the Nigerian government.”

The kidnapping has sparked global condemnation of Boko Haram and criticism of Nigeria’s government for how it handled the aftermath. The U.S. recently sent a team of officials from the FBI, the Department of State and the Department of Defense to aid in the search. Carney wouldn’t say whether the team of U.S. hostage negotiators in Nigeria wold encourage the government to negotiate with Boko Haram.

Some senior lawmakers are floating the idea of sending special forces to help find the girls, who appeared for the first time since their kidnapping in a video released by Boko Haram on Monday.

"The Nigerians ought to be handling things in their own backyard, but frankly it's a big vast country with a bunch of bad guys acting like cowboys and running around," Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told TIME. "They can't handle it. I think that's why we're treading very carefully, but we've got to be more forceful than what we've been thus far."

No, Hillary Clinton Isn’t ‘Soft’ on Terrorism

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:05 AM PDT

Conservatives eager for lines of attack against Hillary Clinton ahead of her presumed presidential run are currently hammering two story lines with a common theme—that she is soft on terrorism. It’s a bizarre attack. While you can second-guess some of Clinton’s secondary decisions while she was Secretary of State, the most important fact about her tenure in Obama’s cabinet is that, when it came to fighting terrorism and the use of American power, she was its most hawkish member.

Story line number one in the conservative case is Clinton’s 2011 decision not to place the despicable Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram on the State Department’s official list of foreign terrorist organizations, even after the group’s violent radicalism was well-known. There were some good reasons for this. But conservatives see a simple lesson: “That’s a question of judgment, leadership, [and] strength in foreign policy,” former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told Newsmax.

Story line number two is Benghazi. The case is subtler here, but among the many sins the right is trying to pin on Clinton is a lack of awareness about the terrorist threat in post-Ghaddafi Libya. A 2013 House Republican investigation of Benghazi decried a “fundamental lack of understanding at the highest levels of the State Department as to the dangers presented in Benghazi” while Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro declared that Clinton “violated the most basic standard of duty” by not ensuring better security.

Both these episodes offer rich material for a talented political ad maker. (Hillary Clinton: She couldn’t protect our ambassador in Libya. She couldn’t protect these schoolgirls. How can we trust her to protect us?) Taken together — as they surely will be — these data points will enable conservatives to argue, as one did recently in the New York Post, that as Secretary of State Clinton “logged nearly a million miles of travel but was otherwise an appendage of a strategy of retreat.” And low-information voters who don’t follow foreign policy closely might buy it.

But that would be an extremely misleading portrait of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. In fact, Clinton was the most reliable advocate in Obama’s first term for the use of U.S. military power abroad. As I detailed recently — based on interviews with administration sources as well as published accounts — Clinton led the hawks on issues ranging from troop levels in Iraq to arming Syria’s rebels to the air campaign over Libya (which she may have played a decisive role in convincing Obama to mount). When it came to the war in Afghanistan — which conservatives called crucial to the terror war — Clinton’s position was actually slightly to the right of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush years. And don’t forget that Clinton — also unlike Gates, and Vice President Joe Biden — voted strongly in favor of the daring 2011 raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. No wonder David Petraeus — former CIA director and terrorist hunter in Afghanistan in Iraq — recently declared that Clinton would make “a tremendous president.”

You don’t have to applaud that record: the left certainly doesn’t. “She’s a f-cking hawk and a neocon, basically,” the civil liberties crusader Glenn Greenwald tells GQ magazine.

But it is not a portrait of a woman who is “soft” or “weak” when it comes to national security. Which may be exactly why conservatives are so eager to refract Clinton’s record through the distorting lenses of Boko Haram and Benghazi.

Naked Guy High On Embalming Fluid Shouts ‘SURFBORT’ in Beyoncé Voice

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:03 AM PDT

A naked man standing in the median of a busy Houston intersection kept a crowd of witnesses enthralled with his Beyoncé impression on Thursday. "He was doing the Beyoncé, the surf board, twerking, the Nae Nae. Every dance that's out there right now, he was doing," Chad Arceneaux told KHOU-TV after witnessing the event.

The man was allegedly high on embalming fluids as he danced nude in front of onlookers, including some small children. When the man’s family found out about the show that was going on, they brought clothes and ushered him as quickly as possible off the street corner.

“That's embarrassing. He's in the middle of the street,” said Carla Meyers, who identified herself as the man’s cousin. “Something is going on with him, evidently, because he never did that before.” She said the man had been getting high on embalming fluid, according to the New York Daily News. Meyers was horrified by her cousin’s actions, but also by the inaction of the gawkers who were too busy videotaping the public meltdown to seek help for the obviously troubled man. Police took the man to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. It’s unclear whether he faces charges for his actions. [Via New York Daily News] MORE: Here's a Half-Naked Man Wearing 100 Pounds of Bees Like a Coat MORE: Police: Naked Man Doing Push Ups in the Street Hit and Killed by Car

Red Wine Not That Healthy After All, Study Shows

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Attention, all red wine lovers: It turns out that glass of Merlot might not be as beneficial to your health as previously thought.

A new study released Monday found that low doses of resveratrol found in red wine and dark chocolate don't lead to added health benefits. Resveratrol is a chemical with antioxidant properties found in a number of foods, including red wine, dark chocolate and berries. In the past, a number of studies have shown that consumption of these foods may reduce inflammation, leading researchers to speculate that their common chemical must have explained the phenomenon.

But the study finds otherwise. A team of researchers tracked the health of nearly 800 villagers from Tuscany, the region in Italy where the wine Chianty is made, to see if their drinking habits had any discernable impact on their well-being. They concluded that resveratrol concentration was not linked with cardiovascular disease or cancer rates.

It’s not all bad news, though. While you may have to cut down your wine consumption, you can still hold on to that bar of chocolate: There’s still pretty strong evidence that it may be good for your heart.

Boston Bombing Suspect’s Alleged Accomplices to Face Trial

Posted: 13 May 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Two Kazakh nationals will stand trial for allegedly helping Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev evade authorities and jettison incriminating evidence.

USA Today reports that Federal Judge Douglas Woodstock rejected the defense team’s request to have all charges against Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov dropped, saying he would not weigh the evidence and act as “fact finder” before the trial dates.

Woodstock also rejected the defense team’s request to relocate the pair’s trials outside of Boston, where emotions might not run as high among selected jury members. Woodstock argued that the defense team’s concerns could be resolved through the usual jury vetting process.

Kazakh nationals Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov stand accused of obstructing police investigations by removing a laptop from the Boston bombing suspect’s dorm room and taking a backpack filled with firework shells emptied of explosive powder in the days after the April 15, 2013 bombings.

Tazhayakov will stand trial on June 30, and Kadyrbayev on Sept. 8. A third suspect, Robel Phillipos, will stand trial on charges of lying to investigators on Sept. 29.

[USA Today]

4 Reasons the $399 Xbox One Without Kinect Is Good for All of Us

Posted: 13 May 2014 10:58 AM PDT

Look, I know you want to pick a horse when it comes to video game consoles, and you don’t want anyone telling you that you picked wrong, or less than ideally. Everyone loves their horse. To be clear, that’s not what I’m up to here. I love the PlayStation 4: it’s a phenomenal piece of hardware. This is me endorsing Microsoft’s decision to sell a version of Xbox One without Kinect, not an endorsement of Microsoft or Xbox One. I have platform preferences like anyone, but they’re not part of this piece.

These are simply my thoughts about Microsoft’s decision today to announce a Kinect-less Xbox One for $399, coming on June 9. I think it’s as good an idea as any the company’s had since it dreamt up the Xbox 360 last decade. And given all the hoopla the company’s made about Kinect being an essential part of the Xbox One experience, I think it’s just as tectonic.

It levels the playing field, price-wise.

Obviously, but that’s important for less obvious reasons: the Xbox One was already selling reasonably well at $500, if nowhere near PS4 numbers, and that’s a relevant point. But the Xbox One is well ahead of Xbox 360 sales for the same period, and it’s doing so in a fraction as many markets as the PS4.

And now it’s $100 less expensive. Officially. You can make the argument it was already $50 to $100 less expensive thanks to retailer deals and promotions, or after you factor in the cost of this or that bundled game, but making the Xbox One’s baseline price official locks Microsoft in, and makes future price shaves or bundle deals that much sweeter.

I know: You want to tell me the playing field isn’t really level, how a game like Assassin’s Creed IV runs at a lower resolution on the Xbox One than it does the PS4, and how that’s been a problem for several other games, too. I get it, but that’s always struck me as a shortcut to thinking, a way of reducing artful experiences to processing cycles (to say nothing of its presumptions about what these systems are going to be capable of in a year or three).

Is the platform powerful enough to render the games you want to play? That’s what matters. Unless you’re a videophile — and in that sense, a fraction of a fraction of the populace — that’s the only thing that ought to matter.

It lets Microsoft off the hook, vision-wise.

I have no idea if recently appointed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had his hand in this, so I’ll just say that I find Kinect a fascinating experiment, and one I’d love to see continue. It’s what you get when you marry Minority Report, Sony’s Eye Toy and Dragon Dictate, a post-Wii riff on futuristic notions that your body and voice are all you need to make stuff happen in increasingly semantic, augmented reality environs. But it’s currently like that (possibly apocryphal) Gandhi quote, where he supposedly said in response to a question about his views on Western civilization, “I think it would be a good idea.”

I think Kinect would be a good idea. But it’s a work in progress. And foisting it on gamers as part and parcel of the Xbox One experience was probably not a good idea, especially given what it did to the system’s sell price. This move lets the company double down on pitching the Xbox One to serious gamers — their first line of supporters, same as Sony’s PS4.

It tells us that Microsoft’s willing to act, even when it hurts.

Imagine Apple doing this with…well, any of its products. Microsoft’s yanked feature after feature from the Xbox One’s launch arsenal — mostly for the better, in my view. That’s partly the sign of a company having trouble reading its audience, and too much of that can shut you down, but it’s also the sign of a company that’s willing to admit defeat and follow wildly different vectors.

Yes, the Xbox One’s trajectory since launch looks like a series of withdrawals, from its position on home invasiveness to those stringent preliminary used-game requirements. But ask any military leader: sometimes you have to retreat to find your footing.

It dovetails with Microsoft’s equally surprising paywall shift.

After years of stonewalling (and griping by blowhards like me), Microsoft’s finally going to unpack apps like Netflix and Hulu from its $60-per-year Xbox Live subscription requirement (and that’s for both the Xbox One and Xbox 360). That requirement’s always felt like double-dipping, since you were in essence paying Microsoft a toll to access something that had its own subscription fees (and for which you paid nothing on Sony’s more open-ended PlayStations 3 and 4). Launching a Kinect-less Xbox One now is the meat and potatoes here, but unbundling entertainment apps from Xbox Live is the gravy.

Final Thoughts

Yep, pulling Kinect out of the box poses problems for the handful of games that depend on it — games like Just Dance 2014 and Kinect Sports Rivals. But by doing this early on, Microsoft’s minimizing the fallout, which could have been considerable had this instead happened two or three years out (though to all the developers who’ve slaved to make the peripheral relevant, including those at Microsoft designing the One’s interface, you have my sympathies).

But where I can see the logic in arguments that selling a platform with innovative peripherals can increase diversity in game design, I’m not sure Kinect’s such a peripheral. It’s been a boon for armchair innovators who’ve paired Kinect with PCs to come up with unexpected, often very cool contraptions, but it’s also important to remember this move changes none of that.

This decision is Microsoft recognizing two things: that Kinect isn’t a killer enough idea to justify a $100 price differential with its closest competitor, and that a $399 Kinect-less system probably moves a ton more systems than a $499 one.

We’ll see. The worst that could happen to video games at the platform level, in my view, is a major competitor pulling too far ahead of another. That might sound like victory to diehard fans, but it’s trouble down the road. Microsoft would never couch it as such, but the Xbox One will cost $399 in June in part because of the PS4. It only benefits us then, as consumers, if this maneuver allows Microsoft to regain a bit of lost ground, keeping the pressure on Sony, and for both systems to move forward, side by side.

Simon Cowell and Univision Are Looking for Latin America’s Next Top Boyband

Posted: 13 May 2014 10:51 AM PDT

Simon Cowell knows a thing or two about boybands — perhaps you’ve heard of under-the-radar indie act One Direction, which he helped form on his U.K. singing competition, The X Factor, in 2010.

But global domination means nothing if you’re not willing to consider the entire globe, so Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Spanish-language network Univision have announced a new reality show to give Latin America some love: La Banda (“The Band,” for those of you who no hablan español) will assemble the next big Latino boyband from talent pools across Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The winners of the show, which will premiere on Univision in 2015, will receive a recording contract with Sony Music Latin.

No judges have been announced for the program yet, but a few suggestions come to mind: Mexican pop royalty Paulina Rubio served as a judge on the U.S. edition of The X Factor in 2013, and Ricky Martin (also signed to Sony Music Latin) was a member of Menudo long before he was living la vida loca.

The First 10 Things to Do With a New Android Phone

Posted: 13 May 2014 10:45 AM PDT

There’s nothing like that new phone feeling. One minute, you’re marveling over your slab of plastic and metal, and the next, you’re panicking over how much work you’ll have to do to set it up and figure out how to use it.

The experience doesn’t have to be so painful, however. If you just bought a new Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One (M8), this 10-step process will leave you with a clean, easy-to-use and fully-functional phone, without any clutter or annoyances.

Step 1: Skip the Setup Junk

Jared Newman for TIME

If you buy an Android phone from a major wireless carrier, chances are the setup process is a minefield of sign-ins for services you don’t need. Should you have a Samsung account? Maybe, just to claim this handful of freebies, but it’s not essential. Do you need cloud storage from AT&T or Verizon? Definitely not.

The only thing you should absolutely do during the setup process is plug in your Google account credentials, as this will let you download apps and connect you with multiple useful Google services at the same time.

Step 2: Wipe the Slate Clean


See all those apps and widgets that are cluttering up your home screen already? Get rid of them all and start from scratch. On many phones (including Samsung’s Galaxy S series), you can do this easily by pinching on the home screen. You’ll get a zoomed-out view of all your home screen pages, from which you can create a blank home screen and drag the old, cluttered ones into the trash.

Don’t worry; you won’t actually delete any apps this way. Everything’s still available through the app tray, which appears as a little grid icon at the bottom of each home screen. From there, you can add just the apps and widgets you really need. We’ll get rid of the rest in the next step.

Step 3: Remove the Bloatware


The unpleasant reality of Android phones is that they tend to come with a lot of unwanted junk. To remove the clutter, head to your phone’s settings menu, then to the “Apps” or “Applications” section, and find the subsection titled “All.”

This section is a bit confusing, because it includes not just standalone apps, but core system functions, and you don’t want to remove any of the latter. As a general rule, an app is safe to remove if it also appears in your app tray (see step 2). Go through this list and remove anything you don’t want. Some apps can’t be removed entirely, but can still be disabled.

Don’t freak out if you see a warning about removing or disabling built-in apps. Again, as long as it’s an actual app that appears in the app tray, you should be able to get rid of it without problems.

Step 4: Tweak Your Gmail settings


The Android version of Gmail is great, but you may not like some of its default settings. Open the app, and look for the three dots in the top-right corner (or press your phone’s menu button) and hit “Settings.” Tap on your e-mail address and tap on “Inbox sound & vibrate.” If you get too many e-mails, like I do, you’ll definitely want to hit “Sound” and select “Silent” so your phone isn’t constantly blurting out noises.

Now, back out to the main settings menu and select “General settings.” If you’d rather delete e-mails than archive them, hit “Archive & delete actions” and hit “Show delete only.” Now, you can delete e-mails just by swiping to the right. You’ll also see a delete button when viewing e-mails in the notification bar.

Step 5: Set Photo Backups to Unlimited


Many new Android phones include an app called Google+ Photos, which can automatically back up any photo or video you take on your phone. It’s a must-have app for keeping your memories safe, and you can get it as part of the main Google+ app if you don’t have it already.

There’s just one problem: By default, Google+ Photos backs up everything at full resolution. This counts against your 15 GB Google storage limit and could eventually keep you from getting e-mail unless you pay for more storage. To fix this, go to the app’s Settings menu, hit Auto Backup and set Photo size to “Standard.” Now, you can upload unlimited photos, capped at a resolution of 2048 pixels wide. That’s still good enough to view on any screen.

Step 6: Check Your Google Play Store Settings


You just spent all that time cleaning up your home screen in Step 2; now you have to make sure your new apps don’t crash the party.

Open Google Play Store, swipe to the right, hit “Settings,” and uncheck the box that says “Add icon to Home screen.” Your new apps will be available in the app tray, which appears as a little grid icon at the bottom of each home screen.

You may also want to disable notifications for app updates from the same menu.

Step 7: Set Up Android Device Manager


Device Manager is the Android equivalent of Apple’s “Find My iPhone,” allowing you to locate, wipe or lock a lost or stolen phone. To check on your settings, open the Google Settings app (separate from your phone’s main Settings app), and go to “Android Device Manager.” From here, you can decide which remote management features you’d like to enable. Once you’ve set it up, bookmark the Android Device Manager website for easy access later.

Step 8: Get Some Apps

This one’s obvious, but you’ll probably want some new Android apps to go with your new Android phone. Here are 50 of our favorites.

Step 9: Tastefully Place Some Widgets


Widgets are one of the best features of Android, allowing you to glance at information or quickly perform an action straight from your home screen, but they’re also easy to get wrong. Some widgets are ugly, some fail to update reliably, some drain your battery, and some just aren’t that useful. Instead of larding up your phone with bad widgets, pick a handful that you really like, and put one or two on each of your home screens, organized by genre or purpose. Here are 14 of our favorites.

Step 10: Get a Handle On Notifications


Now that you’ve installed a bunch of apps, you may find that some are being obnoxious, and flooding you with unwanted notifications.

Here’s an easy way to silence the offenders: Head to your phone’s settings, and go to the “Applications” or “Apps” section. Under the “Downloaded” tab, select any app you’d rather not hear from, and uncheck the box for “Show notifications.” This will override any settings within the app itself, and it’s strangely satisfying.

This is just a starting point–a way to get your phone to look good and run smoothly. When you’re ready for more hints and tips, check out our list of essentials for Android users and seven tips every smartphone owner should know.


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